For the season, he was budgeting about $400 to $500 for overall holiday shopping for his three boys, ages 5, 8 and 22 -- the same amount he spent a year ago.
"You have to buy a little at a time. I am budgeting," said Gonzales, who works at a bank and was glad he waited.
While the last-minute promotions may have drawn shoppers, they also ate into stores' profits.
For instance, Kohl's said its December revenue at stores open at least a year increased 3.4 percent, beating Wall Street predictions. But the retailer added that the growth came from heavy discounts, particularly unplanned ones late in the holiday season, and it cut its profit outlook for the current quarter and full year.
"Sales came late in the holiday shopping season and, as a result, were at deeper discounts than planned," said CEO Kevin Mansell. "We are taking the necessary markdowns in the fourth quarter to manage our inventory as we transition into the Spring season."
AP Writer Anne D'Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.